An Post Rás route to prove a stern test for riders

An Post Rás 2013 route

GPO, Dublin, January 29: The 2013 An Post Rás route was announced this morning at the GPO. A demanding eight days of competition faces the riders with the 61st edition of the race featuring over 1180 kilometres of cycling and no less than 33 categorised climbs, four of which are category one mountains.

Two time Rás winner and former Olympian Ciaran Power was on hand to launch the annual international cycle race at the GPO today along with amateur county riders Brian Ahern and Robin Kelly and newly appointed Rás organiser, Tony Campbell.

Campbell, who recently took over the reins from Dermot Dignam, insists the mixture of flat and mountainous stages was designed to strike the right balance while also providing the amateur riders with a better chance of competing against the top teams.

“It is a different type of course this year. The route designer, Stephen O’Sullivan wanted to make some changes. The first three stages are pretty flat, which will keep the time gaps close and the suspense high. You don’t need the hills to have good racing. It’s up to the riders to be aggressive and to break things up.

Part of the thinking was to provide encouragement to the Irish riders to race, as they should be able to compete against the professional teams. The stages are of a length to encourage them to race hard over that distance. But there are also a couple of stages with plenty of hills, and that will give the climbers the chance to make a difference”, Campbell said.

A new and exciting aspect of the race for Irish riders will be the addition of a ‘County Rider’ jersey. This will spice up the action between the county teams as they compete to claim the jersey and local glory that goes with it on each day of the race.

The world-ranked race begins in Dunboyne on Sunday 19th May, the fourth consecutive year it has started there. It will then move counter-clockwise around the country, and includes stage finishes in Longford, Nenagh, Listowel, Glengarriff, Mitchelstown, Carlow and Naas, before concluding on Sunday 26th May with the customary finale in Skerries, North County Dublin.

Campbell expects that as usual, the race will be a much sought after event in the cycling calendar by strong international professional and national teams from Europe and further afield.

An Post continues to sponsor the race, which will be a key event in the company’s Gathering 2013 schedule of activity.

An Post CEO, Donal Connell said “This is the third year of partnership between two well-known Irish institutions. We look forward to another year of great racing and fabulous support from communities all along the route.  We are expecting over 14 international teams to compete so this is a great chance to showcase our racing talent, our countryside and our culture to a world audience.  The An Post Rás will be a great asset to the Gathering’s 2013 calendar.”

Details of the international teams set to join this year’s An Post Rás will be released over the coming months. The An Post Sean Kelly team has already committed to participating.

 

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